Our delegates to Women’s Conference will be Mary Shannon and Barbara Roberts (both pictured below at the International Women’s Strike). We voted to submit motion below for debate at the Conference which is being held next month in Telford.
NHS charging for ante-natal and maternity care
Women’s Conference deplores the 2017 introduction of NHS charging Regulations requiring undocumented and destitute migrant and refugee women to pay 150% charges for ante-natal and maternity care.
We note these charges, part of Tory ‘hostile environment’ policies, lead to vulnerable and destitute women who often experience high risk pregnancies, being either denied, or too frightened to access care. They and their babies are at risk.
All maternity-related care is deemed to be ‘immediately necessary’ and should be given, regardless of ability to pay. However, most NHS Trusts charge and destitute post-natal women face hostile action by the Home Office when they cannot pay.
We resolve to:
1) Call on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Government to rescind the Regulations – and meanwhile suspend them pending research on their impact.
2) Call on the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to lead a Labour campaign against NHS charging, and commit to rescinding the policy under a Labour government.
3) Call for all NHS Trusts to;
- a) provide information on the number of women charged for care since the regulations were introduced.
- b) exercise their discretion not to charge undocumented migrants in need of ante-natal and maternity care.
- c) ensure that Overseas Visitor Managers are trained in relevant law and Regulations and do not charge women eligible for free care or harass destitute women who are clearly unable to pay.